Soon after Daniel became the king’s adviser, King Nebuchadnezzar kept having a terrible dream. He called all his wizards. “This dream upsets me, I want to know what it means.”
The wizards said. “Yes, Your Majesty tell us your dream and we’ll find out what it means.”
But the king answered “No. You must first tell me what I dreamt, then what it meant. If you can’t do this you and your homes will be torn to pieces. If you can do this thing I’ll give you rich gifts and great honor.”
The wizards thought maybe they had not heard right. So they said again. “Let the king tell us his dream, then we’ll be glad to tell him what it means.”
The king grew angry. “Oh no you don’t, you’re just trying to trick me. Now listen! You tell me my dream and then you can tell me what it means!”
“But no king has ever asked this of his magicians!”
The king became even angrier. He stood up and pointed at all the wizards whining and mumbling in front of him. “Enough! If you cannot follow this order, then I’ll have you killed!”
So the order went out to kill all the king’s wise men. The order included more than just the wizards; it meant all the king’s advisers. That meant Daniel and his friends would be killed too! Daniel and his friends prayed together. Late that night, Daniel had a vision. He thanked the Lord, then ran to see the king.
“Can you really tell me what I dreamt? Can you say what it means?” The king asked.
Daniel said. “No but there is a God in heaven who can; you saw a horrible statue. Its head was made of gold, its chest and arms were made of silver, its waist and hips of bronze, its legs of iron and its feet of both iron and clay.
“A great stone broke loose from a cliff and destroyed the statue, piece by piece. The stone grew to become a mountain which covered the whole earth. “That was the dream and the meaning is that each part of the statue is a different kingdom. You, as king of Babylon, are the head. After you will come another kingdom, and then another. Then finally a fourth kingdom, as strong as iron, will rule. But it will be a divided kingdom.”
God had shown the king how Babylon would fall to Persia, and later, Greece which would be followed by Rome. Rome was the divided empire. Then God would work the greatest miracle of all, using His own Son, Jesus. His would be a different kingdom, based on peace, not war. Daniel went on to talk about this time, so very far in the future.
“While the divided kingdom rules, God will set up another kingdom which can never be destroyed. It will last forever. That is the great stone, cut from the mountain by the same great God who has shown these things to the king.”
The king said to Daniel, “Your God is truly the greatest and wisest!”
Then, the king made Daniel the most powerful man in Babylon, next to the king himself.
Many years passed and King Nebuchadnezzar soon forgot what he had said about Daniel’s God being the only one. Instead he built a giant statue of gold and called this his god. He sent out an order.
“Whenever the royal music is played, everyone must fall to the ground and pray to this statue. Anyone who doesn’t, will be thrown into a blazing furnace to die.”
Before long the king’s men noticed that the three best friends of Daniel were not praying to the golden statue. If they had, they would have broken God’s law. This law said, “I am the Lord your God. I will be your only God. Do not make statues and worship them.”
When Nebuchadnezzar heard this he sent for Daniel’s friends. He called them by their Babylonian names.”Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, is it true you will not worship my statue?”
The three men stood firm. “We can never worship your god. Even if we are thrown into the blazing furnace, our God is able to save us from it.”
Nebuchadnezzar burned with anger. He ordered his soldiers to tie up the three men. “Take them away! And see that the fire is seven times hotter than usual!”
The soldiers threw Daniel’s friends into the furnace. However when they did it was so very hot and the soldiers were the ones who died! Then, the king saw something which was even more amazing. The three men were no longer tied up! They walked between the flames but they did not suffer at all. But, even more astounding, was that a fourth man was in furnace with them and He shone brighter than the fire itself. Could this have been Jesus Himself, sent by His Father to comfort the three men?
The king ordered the men to come out. When they walked out of the fire, the fourth man disappeared. Daniel’s friends were safe!
The king shook his head.”Incredible! Surely your God is the greatest. He protects those who trust Him. From now on no one is allowed to say anything bad about your God.”